NORMAN — It’s been quite a horse race, but then open seats in the state legislature often are. For the past 12 years, State Senate District 15, which includes much of Norman, has been represented by Jonanthan Nichols, R-Norman. But Nichols has term-limited out and with the seat up for grabs, candidates seemed to be coming out of the woodwork to run for the position.
All five of the candidates who filed to run for the office were from Norman. Four of the five are Republicans.
For Rob Standridge, it’s been a long battle. The original vote included Bob Neidhart, Jack Beller and Harold Harolson. Standridge won in the primary, but not by the required majority to avoid a run-off. In August, he took on the second runner up for the Republican bid, Dr. Jack Beller.
For Claudia Griffith, it’s been a long wait. Griffith was the lone Democrat to file and she has been quietly waiting in the wings to challenge the GOP nominee.
Now the campaign trail includes candidate forums, posting signs, answering calls and mostly, going door-to-door, meeting the people of the district.
State races don’t carry the same level of media blitz as a presidential election and while Griffith and Standridge have worn out shoe leather, the nation continues to argue politics in an increasingly hostile environment. It’s not just that the pendulum has swung again and voters are leaning to the right, voting mostly Republican. It’s that voters are just plain mad, fed up, sick of politics and a struggling economy and a growing deficit.
State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said earlier this month that of 68,000 new voters registering in Oklahoma this year, more than two-thirds have registered Republican. Since Jan. 1. Oklahoma Republicans have added 45,094 voters, while Democrats have added just 6,940 voters.